The Mythical Bagels of NYC
Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Active: 35 mins
Adapted from a recipe by Chow.com’s Melissa Wagenberg Lasher
- 1½ cups tepid water (105°F to 110°F) plus 1 tablespoon for the egg wash
- 1 (¼-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons malt syrup *
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or coarse salt for topping
- Place 1½ cups of the tepid water in a bowl and dissolve the yeast completely; set aside. Combine flour, malt syrup, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add yeast mixture, scraping any undissolved yeast out of the bowl with a spatula.
- Mix on low until most of the loose flour has been worked into the dough and the dough looks shredded, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium low and continue mixing until the dough is stiff, smooth, and elastic, about 8 to 9 minutes more. (If the dough gets stuck on the hook or splits into 2 pieces, stop the machine, scrape off the hook, and mash the dough back into the bottom of the bowl.) The dough should be dry, not tacky or sticky, and somewhat stiff.
- Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a large oiled bowl, and turn it to coat in oil. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rise in a warm place, until it is noticeably puffy and springs back when you poke it, about 20 minutes. (The dough will not double in size.)
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425°F and arrange the rack in the middle. Fill a large, wide, shallow pan (3 to 6 quarts) with water and bring to a simmer, not a full boil. Cover until you’re ready to boil the bagels. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper greased with oil or cooking spray. Place a metal rack inside of a second baking sheet and set aside.
- Turn the risen dough out onto a dry surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, about 3 ounces each. (While you work, keep the dough you’re not handling covered with a damp towel to prevent drying.) Roll each piece into a 9-inch-long rope, lightly moisten the ends with water, overlap the ends by about 1 inch, and press to join so you’ve created a bagel. As necessary, widen the hole in the middle so it is approximately the size of a quarter. Cover the shaped bagels with a damp towel and let rest 10 minutes.
- After resting, stretch the dough to retain the quarter-size hole (the dough will have risen a bit) and boil the bagels 3 or 4 at a time, making sure they have room to bob around. Cook for about 30 seconds on each side until the bagels have a shriveled look, then remove to the baking sheet with the rack in it. Adjust heat as necessary so the water stays at a simmer.
- Sprinkle boiled bagels as desired with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or coarse salt. Arrange the bagels on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 1 inch apart and bake. Rotate the pan after 15 minutes and bake until the bagels are a deep caramel color and have formed a crust on the bottom and top, about 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes so the interiors finish cooking and the crusts form a chewy exterior.
Slice bagel in half and top with cream cheese, fried egg and bacon, or smoked fish.
Makes 12 bagels
* Malt syrup can be found in health food stores or online.